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CAPAZ, the UN in Colombia, and universities in Tolima celebrate International Peace Day

The German-Colombian Peace Institute – CAPAZ, the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia and the universities of Ibagué and Tolima have organised the event “Reincorporation of former combatants, territorial peace and reconciliation. Keys for the future of the peace process in Colombia”, which will take place on September 19 and 20, 2019 at Universidad de Ibagué. The event commemorates International Peace Day, celebrated on September 21 around the world.

The main objective of the academic meeting is to insist on dialogue to be implemented in order to build sustainable peace in Colombia and on the importance of the territorial perspective for the reintegration of former combatants.

Academic and football event

The event will bring together representatives from academia, social leaders from local communities, and delegates from international organisations such as the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.

The central themes will include peacebuilding in the department of Tolima, in south-western Colombia; the future of the reintegration and reincorporation process; a number of productive projects carried out by former combatants; and the situation of the Territorial Training and Rehabilitation Spaces (ETCR).

Following the main event, the participants will be invited to take part in a football tournament, convened by Street Football World and Fundación Selección Colombia. Both organisations work, national and internationally to promote football and sport as a catalyst for social change. Worth mentioning is the participation of Elkin Soto Jaramillo, former national team player for Colombia and former player for Germany, Maguncia 05.

This is the first time that CAPAZ and the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia have joined forces, in this case, in partnership with universities in Tolima, to offer a space for exchange between academia, civil society, those taking part in processes of reintegration, and representatives from international cooperation.


CAPAZ 2019 Summer School Agenda in Berlin

The CAPAZ 2019 Summer School will take place in Berlin from 23 to 27 September 2019. The academic school is organised by CAPAZ, the Institute for Latin American Studies (LAI) of the Freie Universität Berlin, with the support of the LAI Alumni Programme, the GLOCON (Global Change-Local Conflicts) project, and TrAndeS (Postgraduate Programme in Sustainable Development and Social Inequalities in the Andean Region).

Based on the question “An exclusive peace? Peacebuilding in unequal contexts”, the academic school will analyse the implications of peacebuilding in Colombia in contexts of extreme social inequalities.

The summer school sessions will address four central themes: territoriality, memory, democracy, and justice. The programme will include discussions on historical memory in Germany and other countries. Researchers from Colombian and German universities will lead the sessions and discussions.

There will also be an offer of parallel activities in the German capital, such as visits to places of memory, meetings with members of the German Parliament, and a screening of documentary films.

Find out about the academic programme of the CAPAZ 2019 Summer School (in Spanish).


(Text: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)


Second preparatory GeoRaizAL Conference for the XXIII Colombian Congress of Geography

The preparatory day GeoRaizAL for the XXIII Colombian Geography Congress will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, which, in turn, will be held from October 22 to 25, 2019 in Bogota.

The preparatory conference is organised by the geography programme at Universidad Externado de Colombia and consists of two sessions:

Round table, during which the general theme of the congress entitled: A geography for peacebuilding will be presented. The purpose of the meeting is to identify fundamental meeting points between geography, conflict and peace. The CAPAZ Academic Director, Prof. Dr. Stefan Peters will participate in this discussion session. Experts, students, and teachers of the geography programme are welcome to attend the session.

Preparatory day for the XXIII Colombian Congress of Geography (Table III. Political and historical geographies of the armed conflict and peace). This afternoon session will bring together experts to present research and experiences on conflict and peace in Colombia, with emphasis from a spatial perspective.

For more information please contact the organisers of the preparatory day directly:

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Programa de Geografía

Tel: (+571) 342 02 88 Ext. 1503/1511

Prof. Flavio Bladimir Rodríguez Muñoz


Brochure for the XXIII Colombian Geography Congress (Spanish)

(Text: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)




An open forum on “Citizen Political Education” will be held on Thursday, September 5, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Rogelio Salmona Building of Universidad Nacional de Bogotá.

The event is free entry.

CAPAZ and the Centro de Pensamiento Nicanor Restrepo Santamaría para la Reconstrucción Civil (CeNiRS) attached to Universidad Nacional invite you to take part in the academic agenda with three speakers in the morning, among them the President of the Federal Centre for Political Education (BpB), Thomas Krüger, and Professor of the University of Kassel, Germany, Prof. Dr. Bernd Overwien.

In the afternoon, two panels will discuss good practices, opportunities and the challenges of political and citizen education in Colombia.

Consult the forum’s academic programme (in Spanish)

For more information and contact: Instituto CAPAZ: and CeNiRS: Website /


(Text: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)


Politische Bildung in Kolumbien: Tagung des Instituto CAPAZ und der Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Das Deutsch-Kolumbianische Friedensinstitut – Instituto CAPAZ und das Centro de Pensamiento Nicanor Restrepo Santamaría der Universidad Nacional de Colombia (CeNiRS) führen am 5. September 2019 die Tagung Educación Política Ciudadana (Politische Bildung in Kolumbien) durch.

Die Veranstaltung, die von der Deutschen Botschaft in Kolumbien, der Kooperationsstelle GIZ, AMBERO, Commo Consult und Ideaborn unterstützt wird, findet an der Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá statt.

Auch nach der Unterzeichnung des Friedensabkommens ist die öffentliche Meinung in Kolumbien weiterhin stark polarisiert und beeinflusst die Entscheidungsfindungen kolumbianischer Bürgerinnen und Bürger. Auf diesem Hintergrund wird die Veranstaltung u.a. folgende Themen diskutieren:

  • Was versteht man unter politische Bildung in Kolumbien?
  • Welche Initiativen gibt es im Lande zu diesem Thema?
  • Welche Maßnahmen können ergriffen werden, um die Information, das Wissen, die Ausbildung und das Vertrauen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in ihre öffentlichen Einrichtungen zu verbessern?
  • Wie können Wissenschaft, Medien, Gewerkschaften, Zivilgesellschaft und internationale Kooperation zur Verbesserung der politischen Bildung im Land beitragen?


Gäste aus Deutschland: Wissenschaft und die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung

Am Donnerstag, den 5. September 2019, 8-17 Uhr findet im Auditorium des Gebäude Rogelio Salmona an der Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá die Diskussionsveranstaltung statt. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos.

Thomas Krüger, Präsident der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BpB) und Prof. Dr. Bernd Overwien (Universität Kassel) sind aus Deutschland zu Gast eingeladen. Beide werden über die deutsche Erfahrung für den Aufbau und die Stärkung der politischen Bildung und Demokratie liefern.

Politische Bildung in Kolumbien

Expertinnen und Experten des kolumbianischen Bildungsministeriums, der Universidad Nacional de Colombia und Organisationen wie DeJusticia werden einen Überblick über die politische Bildung in Kolumbien geben.

Anschließend wird auf zwei Panels über Praktiken, Chancen und Herausforderungen der politischen Bildung in Kolumbien diskutiert. Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der Politik, Lehrer- und Schulverbände, zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen und Agenturen für internationale Kooperation werden an der Diskussion teilnehmen.

Lesen Sie das Programm der Tagung (Spanisch)


Tagung: Educación Política Ciudadana – Donnerstag, 5. September 2019, 8:00 – 17:00 Uhr. Auditorio Edificio Rogelio Salmona, Universidad Nacional in Bogotá. Öffentliche Veranstaltung (Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos)

Nota de prensa (español) / Pressemitteilung (Deutsch)



Instituto CAPAZ:

Presse Instituto CAPAZ:

CeNiRS: Website /


Juliana González Villamizar’s academic stay in Germany

Juliana González (o.t.right) in Germany. Photo: cortesía Juliana González

Juliana González Villamizar, CAPAZ science collaborator and doctoral candidate at Justus Liebig University Giessen travelled to Germany in July 2019 to take part in different academic events and activities.

Lecture at the KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

In the workshop on Memory and transitional Justice in Colombia and Latin America, organised by Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and CAPAZ, Juliana González presented her lecture: “Memory, social inequalities and intersectionality in the work of truth commissions”, resulting from her on-going doctoral research. In her lecture, González described the work of truth commissions in South Africa, Guatemala, and Peru in the face of social inequalities. She proposed a reflection on the potentialities and challenges of the Truth Clarification Commission (CEV) in Colombia to implement intersectional approaches in its historical analysis of the armed conflict.

Memory workshop in Berlin

In Berlin, Juliana González attended the workshop: “Commemoration and remembrance. Processes of historical memory construction and State legitimacy”, organised by CAPAZ, Freie Universität Berlin and Universidad de Medellín. Her paper: “Women’s struggles for memory in truth commissions” discussed truth commissions as state scenarios for the construction and articulation of women’s memories in societies that seek to elaborate past and present violence.

Women’s peace movements in Latin America

At Justus Liebig University Giessen, Juliana González taught undergraduate and graduate students the seminar: “Between Machismo and Emancipation: Women, Violence and Peace in Latin American History, Politics, and Culture” (Zwischen Machismo und Emanzipation: Frauen, Gewalt und Frieden in Geschichte, Politik und Kultur Lateinamerikas).

The topics discussed included the contexts of violence and repression in Latin America during the last decades and the influence that women and their social movements have had on the enforceability of women’s human rights, the duty of memory, and the transformation of a culture strongly marked by machismo and racial discrimination. Some examples cited were the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, the National Summit of Women and Peace in Colombia, and territorial community feminisms in Bolivia and Guatemala.

Memory and gender in the perspective of cultural studies

Also in Giessen, Juliana González visited the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), where she presented a lecture as part of the biannual series of meetings (Research Network in Queer Studies, Decolonial Feminisms, and Cultural Transformations). Her talk proposed a discussion on the uses of gender and intersectionality in different contexts and their possibilities in the face of achieving feminist transformations.

By invitation of the GCSC working group on memory, Juliana González participated in various debates on the role of memory and education for human rights in contexts of political transition, on the occasion of Professor Andre Keet’s visit to Giessen from Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.

(Text: Juliana González Villamizar. Revision: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)


Juliette Vargas’ academic stay in Germany

In May 2019, the science collaborator for CAPAZ and CEDPAL (Centre for the Study of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure) at the University of Göttingen, Juliette Vargas participated in different academic events in Germany, related to her doctoral research under the tutelage of Prof. Dr. Kai Ambos.

Lecture in Göttingen

In her lecture: “Dilemmas of victims’ participation in traditional justice: The case of the JEP in Colombia” in Göttingen, Juliette Vargas explained some general issues related to the participation of victims in international criminal tribunals in contexts of transitional justice. Specifically, she focused on the dilemmas in this regard before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in Colombia. The event took place on May 14, 2019 and was organised by CAPAZ and CEDPAL.

Juliette Vargas (right) in Giessen. Photo: Juliette Vargas

Roundtable on Transitional Justice in Colombia

In Giessen, Juliette Vargas shared a panel with Dr. Francisco Cortés Rodas and Catalina Ibañez, moderated by Dr. Rosario Figari Layús during the event on transitional justice in Colombia. Her presentation generically explained the regime of victims’ participation in international criminal law and its evolution. She then focused on the participation rights of victims before the JEP in Colombia, and the difficulties and challenges for its implementation. The event took place on May 15, 2019 and was convened by CAPAZ and the Chair of Peace Studies at Justus Liebig University Giessen.

Academic activities in Berlin

Juliette Vargas was invited to present her doctoral research at the colloquium organised by the Institute for Latin American Studies (LAI) at Freie Universität Berlin. PhD students participated with research on Colombia developed from different approaches and disciplines. The colloquium was guided by Prof. Dr. Marianne Braig, Dr. Kristina Dietz, and Professor Gabriel Ruiz Romero.

Juliette Vargas on transitional justice at event in Berlin. Photo: Juliette Vargas

In her talk: “Overview of the rights of victims in the current context of Colombian Transitional Justice”, Juliette Vargas explained the structure of each of the components of the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR) in Colombia, and the rights of victims and their possibilities of participation before each of the components. She also examined experiences of victims’ participation before the SIVJRNR. This event was organised by the Forschungs-und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerica e.V. – FDCL.

(Text: Juliette Vargas, Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)


Workshop on transitional justice and memory at KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Participants in the Eichstätt Workshop. Photo: Workshop organisation comittee

The transitional justice process in Colombia and the memory initiatives around this mechanism implemented by different populations was the central theme of the workshop: “Transitional Justice and Memory: Colombia in a Latin American Perspective”, held on July 11 and 12, 2019, at Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Germany.

The meeting was organised by this university, the CAPAZ Institute, the Justus-Liebig University Giessen Peace Chair, the Hanns Seidel Stiftung Foundation and the proFOR+ programme (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt).

Thematic agenda

One of the issues most discussed during the meeting was the incidence of social inequalities, such as gender and ethnicity, in the construction and transmission of memory and access to truth, justice, and reparation in the Colombian context.

The paper by Prof. Dr. Stefan Peters (CAPAZ/JLU Giessen) pointed out the importance of considering social preconditions such as education, or power relations based on discrimination, as factors that explain “non-memory” conjunctures or memories that remain underground during a society’s processes of peace and reconciliation.

Ángela Santamaría (Universidad del Rosario) and Laura Rivera (Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar) presented their study on the situation of indigenous women, including ex-combatants, who seek access to justice and a space to build memory by their own means and beyond legal languages.

Juliana González Villamizar’s contribution (CAPAZ/JLU Giessen) focused on intersectionality as a critical approach to social inequalities, and the potentialities and challenges involved in its implementation in contexts of political transition. In her presentation, she took into account the experience of truth commissions in South Africa, Guatemala, and Peru.

The meeting also highlighted the struggle of victims’ organisations for the truth, in particular, the case of the relatives of forcibly disappeared persons and victims of state crimes. In this respect, the question arose about the reasons that would explain why in Colombia, unlike other countries of the Southern Cone where generalised forced disappearance also occurred, we speak of a “debt to memory”, as proposed by Yuly Paola Flórez (Universidad Libre).

Lorena Vega and Vanessa Suelt Cock (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana) complemented this vision through preliminary results of their research on the possibilities of reparation currently offered by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) mechanisms of participation, from its territorial components.


(Text: Juliana González Villamizar. Revision: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)


“Community Geographies”: GeoRaizAL 2019-II Conference

The Geography Department at Universidad Externado de Colombia and Universität Hamburg, supported by CAPAZ, will hold the first of the two sessions of the GeoRaizAL conference in 2019 entitled: “Community Geographies”.

The event will take place on Thursday, August 22, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogotá.

The agenda will include a discussion on peacebuilding in urban and rural contexts, in which Dr. Carlos Nupia, Administrative Director of CAPAZ, will participate as a speaker. This will be followed by an exchange of seeds, as a symbolic act in homage to those who cultivate and defend the land. The day will end with a discussion on urban agroecologies and agri-food circuits for peace, in which academic and community initiatives on these topics will be presented.

The GeoRaizAL Conference

GeoRaizAL continue the CAPAZ-supported exploratory study on territorial planning and dynamics of the implementation of the peace agreements. This year’s version of the conference has been designed to prepare participants for the Colombian Geography Congress to be held in October this year. The second GeoRaizAL meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 and will be attended by, among others, Luis Beneth Peña (Friedrich Schiller University Jena) who contributed to the series of CAPAZ Institute publications with a working paper on the subject.

For more information, please contact the organizers of the GeoRaizAL Conference directly:

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Geography Program

Tel: (+571) 342 02 88 Ext. 1503/1511

Prof. Flavio Bladimir Rodríguez Muñoz


(Text: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)




Seminar on Biodiversity and peacebuilding at Universidad de los Andes

Professor Rodríguez hosted the seminar. Photo: Claudia Maya

On August 6, 2019, Universidad de los Andes hosted a seminar entitled “The Environment as a Victim of Peace? Deforestation and Biodiversity Conservation”, organised by the CAPAZ Institute, Universidad de los Andes and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Colombia.

The seminar was hosted by Manuel Rodríguez Becerra, a renowned researcher in environmental issues, and attended by a group of experts from the region, as well as teachers, students and people interested in the discussion on the defence of the environment and biodiversity, in relation to the construction of territorial peace in Colombia.

Deforestation and peacebuilding

The first panel, moderated by the Academic Director of the CAPAZ Institute, Prof. Dr. Stefan Peters developed three cases: the situation in the Amazon region; the problems arising from the construction of mega-projects and the need for information that highlights cases of public corruption that run counter to the interests of the country and its communities.

“The Amazon is a treasure”, affirmed Estefanía Ciro, Colombian researcher and 2018 winner of the UNESCO Juan Bosch Prize. She said the problem of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon is not new. It is centuries old. The same models are followed and processes are accumulated. “Peace changes an order of forces in the territories, but the productive and extractivist models continue”, said the researcher.

Currently, the two most serious problems in this region are, on the one hand, the persistent idea that the communities and the land have to be controlled. This causes a dramatic break in the dynamics of local communities with the territory. Secondly, the coca-livestock-land grabbing process has shown that neither the State nor society is aware of the colonising processes in strategic zones such as Guaviare or Caquetá.

The environmental reality in Colombia was discussed on the first panel. Photo: Claudia Maya

Claudia Ortiz, representative of the Rios Vivos organisation presented the serious socio-environmental situation caused by the hydroelectric mega-project Hidrosogamoso, in eastern Colombia. She denounced the deterioration and destruction of native flora and biological corridors due to the flooded areas, and the loss of connectivity of these corridors with the natural parks.

As a peasant member of the community adjacent to the megaproject, Ortiz spoke from her own experience: “now we have privatised water, agro-ecological changes, plagues and diseases that we didn’t have before. We suffer from mental health problems because there is no work; there are people who have been displaced. We are suffering what they call ‘development’ personally in our lives, but development for whom?”

In the current transition, the issue of environmental licensing is not clear and there is no awareness of the impact on water sources, for example. Resistance from communities endangers the lives of those who exercise it. This leads to uprooting and despair. “We are talking about living beings, but here they are out to get us all: the animals are being killed, the trees are being killed, we are being killed. We are committed to the peace process, but we want a peace that allows us to live in the territory”.

The activist highlighted the role of academia: “the communities were not informed of these prejudices before. Academia is very important in understanding our situation, in speaking and understanding technical language, and in defending our interests. It was very difficult for us to understand that language. If there is no language that adapts to the peasants, then we will not be able to communicate. There will be no peace like that”.

Journalist César Molinares, from portal 360 grados, confessed that these are complex issues that require in-depth investigative and journalistic work. Different interests are involved in projects with an environmental impact, mainly personal and business interests. Journalism is about making visible and translating what happens; it is also a transition from conflict journalism to post-conflict journalism.

Environment and market, topics of the afternoon discussion. Photo: Anneke Siebeneck

Environmental public policies

The afternoon panel focused on environmental public policies and market issues. The forest, the jungle are transformed when infrastructure projects arrive in the territories. The problem of deforestation is that these areas are transformed into properties and become exploitable territories.

Although it is impossible to stop this development, we must bear in mind that the forests and jungles are inhabited by communities that have been able to cohabit with the environment. The challenge is not to let infrastructure mega-projects such as road corridors; for example, destroy ecosystems and natural reserve areas.

(Text: Claudia Maya. English version: Tiziana Laudato)